Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: No need to even cross the threshold to be smitten with this museum

The first time we approached the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, we simply admired it from the outside, loitering under the tiled arches of the entrance. Green and gold ceramic tiles crown the rooftops of the distinctive Art Nouveau edifice built in the 1890s with its design freely combining Hungarian, Islamic and Hindu architectural influences.

The museum is so striking, this batch of photos focuses solely on the structure itself. Renovation of the façade was ongoing in May.

The central atrium is left free of exhibits to accommodate special events, a serious coffee competition with the audience patiently watching the judges taste the entries when we were there.

The next post will offer a glimpse of some of the art meriting such an ornate architectural package.

Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: Caravan of food trucks kept calling us

Normally our preference is to sit down in a restaurant and be waited upon, but the Karavan Street Food courtyard of food trucks drew us back several times. Trucks line two sides of tables canopied when needed. Unlike many food truck sites we’ve encountered in Austin and San Antonio, access is hospitably pedestrian only. You don’t feel as though you are standing in the middle of a parking lot, and everything seems clean, fresh and new – even the restrooms.

The food is not inexpensive by Budapest standards, but we could buy a reasonable bottle of respectable red wine to have with our lunch. Always a draw for us. In fact, without TABC to interfere, Karavan Bar offers full-bar service.

We cobbled our meals together from several trucks, but always included orders of the best sweet potato fries we have ever had anywhere. Surprisingly, these emerge from an Asian-themed truck, Samu-Rice, specializing in fillings sandwiched in between two rounds of sticky rice – like the chicken teriyaki roll seen below.

The rice rolls are not the only unusual, for us, bun-type offerings. The Mister’s favorite was the curried chickpea patty from Las Vegan’s (Hey, definitely better to have a misplaced apostrophe than for us to struggle to comprehend the same name written in Hungarian.). The Real Cheeseburger skips the meat patty, substituting it, for example, with a wedge of fried camembert topped with grilled eggplant.

There is no shortage of meat, though. The bread encasing the Langos burgers is fried first, without tasting greasy at all. We sampled a beef burger with red pepper and a pork one with red onion chutney, both with a generous serving of sheep cheese.

We were among the first customers for the opening of Rocket Ice, unfortunately near the end of our stay. Fresh ingredients are combined upon ordering and quick-frozen into ice cream using some mad-scientist-looking process employing nitrogen. The most extravagant combination, Berry’Zola with gorgonzola, blueberries, pears and walnuts, was amazingly good.

Our sampling missed several trucks, including Kobe Sausages, Vespa Rossa Pizza and Pasta, The Soup Truck featuring goulash served in bread bowls and Tortilla Street Pirog, an unusual fusion of Mexican wraps and Russian-style pierogis.

Oh, and chimney cakes. In addition to the truck at Karavan, we saw the pastry cooking over hot coals before being cream-filled at numerous festivals, yet never ordered one. Food trucks and serious booth set-ups are major ingredients of festivals, so I am including photos of the incredibly huge meat-filled sandwiches dished up at Rosalia 2017, a rose wine festival in the city park.

Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: ‘Art is long; life is short.’

The grandson and son of glass-cutters, Miksa Roth (1865-1944) wanted to move beyond craftsmanship to high art. He traveled on his own to learn from examples created by European masters. Upon his return to Budapest, he found himself in the midst of a building boom, with Art Nouveau and, later, Art Deco works in high demand.

Roth’s glass and mosaic pieces are found in the Parliament Building, Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the Agricultural Museum and the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Outside of Budapest, he executed an opalescent glass dome designed by Geza Maroti for the National Theater of Mexico and glass works in the Royal Palace of the Netherlands and in churches throughout Europe. He was awarded a silver medal in the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 and Grand Prizes in Turin and in St. Louis in 1904.

Roth moved into his home in Budapest in 1910, and a large building in the courtyard doubled as the Work Institute of Imperial and Royal Stained Glass and Mosaic Artist Roth Miksa (In Hungary, surnames precede given names.). During its peak, the workshop employed as many as 30 assistants.

The house, now a museum, features three rooms filled with furniture he designed and mosaics, stained glass and glass paintings of his as well as some he collected on travels throughout his career.

The intimate house museum is small, but the pieces inside are stunning and well worth a detour to Nefelejc Street.